National Commentary

Anything But Straight: Time For Mother Mary To Call Mr. Leather

Right wing leaders violently shook their rattles and practically soiled their diapers the moment they found out Mary Cheney was having a baby. For a moment, it seemed they were going to rename their anti-choice slogan, “Right to Straight Life” and demand that Mary immediately seek a partial birth abortion.

The Media Research Center’s Robert Knight called the pregnancy “tragic” and said that Mary and her partner Heather Poe were “shortchanging the child from the start.”

It was also quite breathtaking to watch the remarkable disloyalty the right wing showed Vice President Dick Cheney. Now, this is the Vice President who has pandered to the puritans for six years and even invaded Mesopotamia to help fulfill their twisted End Times Armageddon fantasies. Yet, quicker than one can microwave baby formula, the Biblical Benedict Arnolds feathered and tarred their conservative star.

“Not only is she doing a disservice to her child, she’s voiding all the effort her father put into the Bush administration," Concerned Women for America’s Janice Shaw Crouse whined to The Los Angeles Times.

If the VP didn’t already have his hands full with the mullahs in Baghdad, he now has to deal with the American Taliban asking: Who’s the baby’s dad? It must be surreal for Dick to have his friends taking shots at him, when it is the VP who usually takes shots at his friends. If they keep it up, Knight and Crouse might find a hunting invitation in the mail.

Of course, it is hard to feel much sympathy for the Cheney family. In his own unquenchable lust for power, Dick has empowered the very radicals that now attack his family. His party has played the gay card and the race card, and well, more nasty cards than a double–dealing riverboat blackjack dealer. The Party that Cheney has slavishly served has undeniably given comfort to the crazies and catapulted them from the fringes to the forefront of politics.

After playing extremist-enabler-in-chief for so long, did the VP expect his beloved daughter’s announcement to be greeted with flowers? Well, Perhaps Ahmad Chalabi predicted it would happen this way. But the rest of us know from experience that the attacks on Mary and her family are not in their last throes. The question on everyone’s mind is, will the macho veep, at some point, take on the creeps?

The indication so far is that Cheney family outrage is only reserved for Democrats. We all remember the vice presidential debate when the democratic nominee John Edwards mentioned that Mary Cheney was a lesbian. According to Mary, she mouthed an expletive at Edwards from the front row of the audience seating, while her mother and sister maturely stuck out their tongues at him.

Soon after, in a presidential debate, John Kerry also said that Mary was a lesbian. The response was swift and severe, with Lynne Cheney accusing Kerry of a "tawdry" political trick.

Of course, when right wing activist Alan Keyes once referred to Mary Cheney as a "selfish hedonist," Lynne remained silent. And now, where are Lynne and Dick to defend their daughter against mean-spirited attacks on the right? It seems they can’t be bothered when their political base debases Mary. 

Still, inside my deep reservoir of contempt, lies a begrudging glimmer of respect. This took guts and I hate to see Mother Mary gratuitously attacked because of her sexual orientation. Most impressive, this was a deliberate pregnancy, planned while the Vice President is still in office.

Granted, this decision likely had more to do with the 37-year old Mary’s ticking biological clock than courage. She has always acted solely out of self-interest. For instance she practically vanished while the Bush administration worked to pass a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting gay couples from marrying. Yet, she roared out of the closet to collect a $1 million dollar advance for her commercially failed book, “Now It’s My Turn.”

Nonetheless, Mary has now become the most famous lesbian mother in world history. As karma would have it, she also finds herself living in Virginia, one of the most hostile states to gay families in America. In the Old Dominion, she has the legal standing of an out-of-wedlock mother living in sin, which is better than her partner, Heather Poe, who has no legal standing at all. Instead of two mommies, the child will have one parent and an unrelated “friend,” although the couple has been together for fifteen years.

Perhaps, this is a good time for Mary to call up Mr. Leather, who she once worked with at Coors to promote the suds to gay studs. He could certainly come in handy as the Cheney family is quickly learning that it may take whips and chains to keep their fanatical former friends at bay.